Fugu Finnish cover

Reading material

English sample & synopsis
Finnish edition

Original title: Pallokala

Published: 2017

Publisher: Tammi

Class/genre: Crime & Thriller

Pages: 270

Rei Shimura meets Masterchef in this debut thriller set in Tokyo.

When Riku Mäki, a Finnish celebrity chef, is invited to a cooking contest in Japan, he is concerned that he will be heavily outperformed by the other contestants. What he should be worried about is fugu, the lethally poisonous puffer fish that someone is buying from the market with bad intentions. Mix in the yakuza and the dish is ready to be served.

Fugu is a culinary thriller set in Tokyo told from alternating perspectives. The story is decorated with a delightful array of detail reminiscent of Hideo Yokoyama’s SixFour, transporting the reader to the Japanese capital.

“With its plot-driven narrative, Fugu offers – akin to Sujata Massey’s Rei Shimura books – a nice, cultural journey to Japan for the reader who is not interested in ordinary non-fiction about the country. Those with more experience of Japanese culture will relish the references to Japanese authors such as Junichiro Tanizaki.” Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Finland

“In Fugu, Valkama combines his knowledge of Japanese culture and cuisine with a page-turning murder mystery.” – Hämeen Sanomat newspaper, Finland

“A very accessible read in the form of a crime novel.” – Isyyspakkaus blog, Finland

“The ingredients of Valkama’s crime novel are interesting…” – Kirsin kirjanurkka blog, Finland

Heikki Valkama

Heikki Valkama is an acclaimed journalist who has worked as an editor-in-chief at several Finnish quality magazines. Additionally he has written books about Japan as well as translated from Japanese to Finnish. He grew up in Japan; when he was a teenager, a local yakuza boss tried to marry him off to his daughter. Fugu is his first novel.


Heikki Valkama


2018, Crime & Thriller

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